New research has indicated that HPV vaccines do not carry the strains of the disease that most affect black women, citing a lack of diversity in clinical trials of the vaccine. HPV, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, has about 100 different strains, 40 of which are spread by sexual contact. The vaccines used today, Gardasil and Cervarix only cover just a few of those strains.
According to the research, black women were half as likely as white women to be infected by two most common strains covered by the current vaccines, which could explain the high cervical cancer rates in black women.
Among other things, this study emphasizes the importance of including more ethnicities in clinical trials. We are gaining more and more insight into just how crucial a role genetics plays in how we respond to disease and how one vaccine does not fit all.
But there is some good news! A new HPV vaccine that protects against more strains of the virus is in advanced stages of development. Hopefully it won't be too long before our HPV vaccinations can actually address the women that may otherwise be vulnerable.
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